facebook etiquette

I know this is completely off-topic, but I hope you will endulge me in a brief rant.

First of all, I love facebook.  I have really enjoyed getting back in touch with people I hadn’t seen in years, and staying in closer touch with my friends-in-real-life.  The people I know on facebook are a witty, warm bunch, and it’s quite entertaining to read what they have to say.  That said, there are a few kinds of status updates that really get to me.

You might be bothered by the people who update every little thing they do:  “Fluffy McMuffin is having her morning coffee.  Fluffy McMuffin is on the bus to work.  Fluffy McMuffin had a great salad for lunch.”  Those kinds of status updates don’t bother me at all.  I read fast; I can move on quickly.

There are a few status updates that stick in my craw.   So, a message to a few facebook types:

To my colleagues at work:  It makes me feel really uncomfortable to read your constant complaints.  I’m so sorry you hate your job.  I love mine, and I love where we work, and I wish you’d keep your bitterness to yourself.

To the young teachers at my school:  It surprises me that you would be so negative on facebook, given that you do not yet have tenure.  Do you realize how bad you look when you keep complaining and posting defensive status updates about your teaching?  Be professional, please.  Keep an open mind, remember that while you may have talent, you haven’t got the years of experience that the rest of us do, and be open to learning new things.

To my wealthy friends and relatives:  In an uncertain economy, it is somewhat shocking that you would keep posting updates about your frequent vacations to exotic locations, not to mention how you spent almost $500 on party favors alone for your child’s birthday party.  I’m delighted that you have such good fortune, but wish you’d remember those of your friends who are experiencing great financial stress.

To the parents of my children’s friends:  My child may never find out about it, but it kind of hurts my feelings on his behalf when you post about the parties and excursions that you take your child and his friends on, when my child was not included.

There.  I feel better now.  Thanks!  (And feel free to add your own facebook irritations!)


7 thoughts on “facebook etiquette

  1. i understand the professional aspect comments, but here’s the thing: facebook is not work. i would rather have my coworkers be negative on facebook than be negative at school. believe me, non teachers post complaints about their jobs as well. why should we be any different? some years are harder than others, and the beginning can be the roughest. have you tried making these comments to your coworkers directly, or do they read your blog?
    overall, it is my opinion that you are taking all of these comments waaay too personally. i believe you can block status updates from people and still be friends with them if their updates bother you so much.

    • I can see your point and yet I can also see validity with mz. w. People need a place to vent and a place to be themselves. However, I’m not sure that social networks are the best location. It’s the kind of thing that should occur between two close friends and a couple of pints. I think it’s a real confusing, gray area that people are trying to figure out.

      What I think I forget as a semi-veteran is how normal feelings of insecurity, negativity and hopelessness can feel in a first year. If I watch someone run five miles for the first time ever, I’m not shocked if their attitude goes downhill quickly. If I watch someone learn how to drive, I’m not bothered when they get really stressed or really scared or seek approval on how great they are doing. So, I’m not really surprised when a new teacher who is put into a hard circumstance does the same thing.

      On the flip side, I’m totally with you on the money thing. That can be absolutely unbearable for me. We’re poor and it’s hard to read a complaint like, “I’m upset that the lady couldn’t get my pedicure right” or “I can’t decide between Hawaii or the Bahamas for our anniversary.”

      The Facebook irritation for me is the constant updates about quizzes or Mafia scores or things that don’t really relate to life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that a former college friend is most like a certain Muppets character, but after awhile it becomes too much to keep track of.

  2. Ms. W., thanks for weighing in. I guess I didn’t write it the right way, because these aren’t posts that I take personally. (Except for the one from my kid’s friend’s dad, but even I have to admit I don’t even really like that friend, and wouldn’t really want my kid to be invited to any of his wild gatherings.)

    And you are right, all teachers complain about their jobs. There’s nothing wrong with that. This particular teacher , however, writes veiled attacks on other teachers, and writes very defensive status updates (along the lines of “just because I’m new doesn’t mean I’m a moron”), and just seems unprofessional. This teacher’s all-staff emails are often very negative, too, and overall it makes a bad impression.

    Not to mention, there are parents who are friends with teachers on facebook, and I think it looks bad to complain in front of the parents. As for the other staffers who are so negative, I have indeed blocked their updates.

    John, you make some good points. (I’m not overly fond of the quiz stuff, either, but I think that’s the fault of facebook 2.0. The original facebook was much better for ignoring that sort of stuff.) Social media is still pretty new, and it is a gray area in many ways. And you are right that it is incredibly hard to be a new teacher, and it is important to give new teachers support.

    • now that you have explained it, your post is more sympathetic and understandable.
      veiled attacks on other people are uncalled for, no matter what, but coworkers especially. and i really don’t know about being friends with the parents of students. to me that is even more of a grey area than being friends with students.
      some general venting about work is always ok; anything super specific might not be the best for facebook no matter what you do.
      i personally like many of the stupid quizzes, especially for the people i am closest to in “the real world”. idk the differences in facebook, since i just got there in the last 5 mos.

  3. Ah, Facebook. An online friend of mine likes to call it an “ultimate time-suck.” LOL. I enjoy it for the most part. As I’ve told my kids, anything you say (or do) online had better be something you are not afraid of shouting naked from a stage in front of thousands of people, because when you are online, millions of people could potentially see and read it.

    I think people start to forget who is on their “friends” list and who might read their postings. I try to be mindful of that. I know there are ways of controlling who can see what you post, but I don’t have time for that. So just like being in a room full of people, I’m not going to just spout off what I want to spout off.

    People feel anonymous behind a computer keyboard, even if they are not. It’s easy to forget who might see what you write, if no one is seeing you write it.

    I think people need to learn online etiquette, just like they need to learn social etiquette.

    Quizzes and Apps on Facebook: I do a few, ignore the rest, LOL. I’ve cut way down on my app use, because my anti-virus found trojan horses and viruses after I started using the apps. Since I’ve cut down my use, the problems have stopped, and Facebook has become less of a “time-suck.” LOL

    So there you have it. My 2 1/2 cents as usual. LOL. 🙂

  4. My suggestion (FEEL FREE TO IGNORE _ LOL) is to hide the ones that bother you instead of blocking them. You can unhide them if you ‘want’ to see them or if you want to click on their name. They do not know they are hidden. If you block them, they know you blocked them as in good bye, no longer on your FB. I learned this from my daughter. I have levels on mine. I labeled all my people so that when I want to see a certain group I click that group, ie, family or work, or whatever. It doesn’t really solve the they post stuff that you don’t like, but it does solve the ‘you don’t have to read it’ . … my two cents, feel free to ignore, my teens do constantly LOL

  5. I agree that some people use Facebook way too much to update and take excessive amounts of quizzes. But as mentioned before, this is a social network. It is not meant to be a professional group. I only add people that I want to hear from. There are teachers at my school that I have not added because I don’t want what I have posted to be all over my school in 5 minutes. I don’t discuss what has been said on FB with people who are my friends at work. There is time and place for it and I don’t think work is one of them. It is social for a reason.

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